Harlow Town Park
|Harlow Town Park|
Water Gardens in Harlow Town Park
|Location||Harlow, Essex, England|
|Operated by||Harlow District Council|
Harlow Town Park is a 164 acre park located in Harlow, Essex, England. The park includes Spurriers House, Pets' Corner, Bandstand, aventure playground, Water Garden, Newfoundland Garden, Peace Wood, Lookout Hill, paddling pool, outdoor gym, Harlow skatepark and showground.
In the early 19 century the land around what is now Harlow Town Park was agricultural. In 1837 a tithe was granted for farmhouse and homestead in what became Spurriers Farm.
Between c.1861 and c.1868 William Cox (1817-1889) a former Member of Parliament (MP) for Finsbury, London had a house built called Spurriers House. Cox and his wife Emma Cox, née Angell lived in the house until William Cox's death in 1889 aged 72. The house was left to Emma in his will who continued to reside in the house until her death in 1895. Emma Cox left the house to her spinster sister Mary Ann Angell, who died in 1906.
In 1906 Lizzie Mewburn, née Angell and her husband William Bowyer Chiltern Mewburn lived in the house. They emigrated to British Columbia for a short time where William ran a small business and Lizzie worked as a concert pianist.
William Angell Mewburn and his wife Olive lived at Spurriers House in the early 1930s. William jnr. worked as a builder and oversaw the construction of The Drive, an estate which still exists today. William Mewburn went bankrupt in the mid 1930s and the house was sold.
Spurriers was bought by Thomas Herbert Chapman, a solicitor in c,1935 who lived in the house with his wife Hilda Marion Chapman, née King until his death in 1950. Hilda continued to reside at Spurriers House before moving into a care home in north London prior to her death in 1960.
In c.1965 Harlow Development Corporation purchased Spurriers House. 50 years later and the house is still in the ownership of Harlow Council.
Each year, Harlow Council funds a free-admission fireworks night, attended by up to 15,000 people.
Located within the Town Park is the Harlow Skatepark. Completed in 2012, the skate park was an initiative of the local Harlow Council, prompted by an ongoing campaign by local enthusiasts for the replacement of older skateboarding and BMX equipment.
In the 1960s and 70s, the Town Park had been home to a popular roller rink which eventually fell into disrepair. Petitions for the construction of a new skate park had been presented in the 1980s by local skateboarders and skateboard retailers. During the 1990s, a temporary skate park had been established with wooden ramps. In 2006, permission was granted for the construction of a permanent facility.
The project was funded by Harlow Council (£300,000) and Sport England (£57,500).
Regeneration of the Town Park
Harlow Council's Regeneration Team successfully bid and were granted a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund grant of £1.8m with match funding from the Council as part of a £2.8m regeneration project of the town park. The regeneration work included demolishing of the 1960s built extensions to Spurriers House and conversion of the ground floor space into a new cafe, construction of a new Learning Centre and Events Barn, restoration of Pets' Corner, The Water Garden and refurbishment of the bandstand.
In 2014 a new Education & Volunteer Officer (EVO) was appointed on a five-year HLF funded contract to deliver and Activity Plan within the park. Weekly volunteer sessions are held overseeing park maintenance as well as activities and guided walks. Further information is available on Harlow Council''s website: http://www.harlow.gov.uk/townpark
- Harlow Council - Harlow Town Park
- Harlow New Town: a plan prepared for the Harlow Development Corporation by Frederick Gibberd (Harlow Development Corporation, 1952)
- Harlow Town Park: History by A.G.Tomlins (2003)
- Thousands expected at Harlow Town Park fireworks display by Vicky Lane (Harlow Star, 26 October 2012)